First, while this post is going to focus on a few problem areas that I’ve noticed, I’m loving the 2.2 changes overall. Playing tall is great, having empire capacity/size as a factor creates more interesting choices, and trade routes are fun. So I’m loving the game more than ever, but there are a few issues:
Late Game Processor Lag
I start with this because it is the absolute worst thing about the (very good) game currently. There are a number of bugs in the game like Federation fleets being able to go over the Fleet Cap to create monster stacks and weird war calculations that often result in requiring total victory to have any chance of meeting the victory requirement, but I can work-around these by choosing not to cheat with Federation fleets and settling status quo victories; however, the game running terribly in the late game can’t be worked-around.
This is a big investment for a small team to hire a full-time, skilled engineer capable of understanding a full game engine and how adding multi-threading impacts the code, but the game suffers immensely due to the archaic lack of multi-threading support. I’m playing the beta patch and it still runs poorly, so I don’t think optimization alone will solve this issue, and this is tech that Paradox needs for their game engines going forward too.
One of the design goals with the planet updates was to stop having to micro-manage pops on planets in tiles, but I have to micro-manage far more now because we are constantly having to resettle unemployed pops or take a hit to our population growth by stopping population growth on planets. While the base growth will be moved to emigration if you stop population growth, most of us have researched heavily and learned traditions to enhance base growth, so there is a loss when you push that to emigration. Additionally, there seems to be a hard cap on immigration growth.
Suggestion: Allow new and more specific resettlement policies that simply do these things for us as toggles. We could have one that says to emigrate all unemployed pops automatically, another that says to emigrate all unemployed pops with a prompt (so that energy-starved empires can micro-manage before paying a bunch of resettlement costs) and another two (for slave-enabled ethics) that says to sell all unemployed slaves automatically or with a prompt. For non-resettlement ethics, they could have one (Immigration Funding) that has an energy upkeep cost that improves the emigration for unemployed pops by 100% – which ultimately accomplishes the same thing – but at a fixed monthly cost based on empire size so that they are getting less burst in energy costs.
Crises that create a large amount of unemployment would still happen – especially in energy-starved countries that can’t afford to keep resettling or paying for immigration funding; however, we’d only have to dig in and micro-manage to solve those issues instead of having to constantly micro-manage or take a large hit to our pop growth and thus economic growth speed.
Currently, I play as Xenophobe a lot because the game is causing me to not allow migration treaties unless the treaty is with a species that shares my habitability. Otherwise, you can see your costs skyrocket because population growth is currently setup to try to create equal shares of a population on a planet between the various species – get half your population on a planet where their habitability is garbage and costs can get insane. That isn’t how that works. . . the population that grows should be much more likely to come from the majority species as more pops should mean more babies from that species. Plus, creatures who have low habitability somewhere should choose to not want to immigrate there and be less likely to have children while they are there. My guess is that they did it this way to intentionally cause these problems, but they are easily avoided by simply not allowing other pops to join your empire. What you lose in diversity, you easily gain with increased efficiency (at least until mid-game when you can start to alter species habitability).
Also, it is just bad simulation and it annoys me because it is so far from the way this works in reality. I know that this is meant to make us have to chose between 20% decreased pop growth by selecting a preferred race or having to face this problem, but it is an invented problem and that annoys me. Also, when playing a Xenophile or Egalitarian, it would not make sense for me to choose a preferred race to grow. These ethics have diversity built into them as an intended strength and it is hampered mightily by the current system.
My experience is that the AI makes choices based on whether or not they like you and what will benefit them. That’s great and smart, but I’d like it if there was some more weight given to their behavior based on their personalities. Gestalt empires should make decisions like this (almost purely strategic motivation), but I’d like to see slavers warring against empires to gain planets only to strip them of slave pops and then abandon them and their systems entirely. I’d like to see Purifiers get mid-to-late game access to an apocalypse device and start using it to eradicate their enemies. I’d like to see Federation Builders fighting Liberation Wars to grow their federations.
I’m aware that some of this is already in the game’s design based on diplomatic weights, but I’d like to see more advanced AI that has personality in their methods and strategies.
Edit: Further Thoughts on AI
- AI is currently completely dumb about planning their planets. These are space-faring races that should be able to think that they should try to make their housing equal to their number of jobs – and if they were just a few off (like 5-10) then that would be understandable, but I look at planet after planet that has run out of housing or jobs or both and they just let themselves fall to ruin – often with open slots; having said that, policies that fix automatically resettle unwanted pops would be useful.
- AI tend to stop growing at mid-to-late game. I chose to gobble up some precursor pops as slaves (take that you smug bastards) and leave their 3 Gaia planets for a nearby federation to gobble up after I abandoned them, but the AI didn’t seem to think the system was worth expanding into?
Edit 2: Ethics Attraction Makes No Sense To Me and Never Has
So I have built up Ethics Attraction and I’m doing fairly well until I start gobbling up empires and making slaves; even then I’m conscious of this and consequently choose to Shine them into telepathic religious sheep for me to control before enslaving them, but these tiny factions that started at literally less than 1 percent of the population can’t seem to be gotten rid of and eventually grew to 2% and 4% of the population. That’s not a big deal as far as gameplay goes, but my issue is that I had Deep Space Black Sites on ever inhabited planet, Citadels of Faith on every planet, and every tradition, ambition, and edict selected that should have put my Ethics attraction somewhere in the 300-400% range. I even had a Chosen One ruler at rank 10 adding a ton more ethics attraction. Literally, everything possible to turn on was turned on, the unwanted factions were being suppressed and the government ones were promoted. . . and after 50 years with everything on, they were still 2% and 4%. My guess is that this is another hidden incidence of the game designers creating problems for us by giving bonuses to marginalized factions, and that would be good game design but we should have tools to fix the incited problems and with all of that overkill I had, they should have been suppressed with remarkable efficiency. It should have been awesome and interesting to see the factions suppressed so fast; instead, literally nothing happened.
Still a fantastic game and a lovely patch. Thank you. I’ve spent way more hours than I should playing it, but these are some fairly significant issues that should be fixed before further monetized expansions/packs.
© Post "2.2 Feedback" for game Stellaris.
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